Sudan: New Report Warns Millions Have Moved Closer to Famine

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The international community must urgently prioritise the crisis in Sudan and step up efforts to prevent famine there, Islamic Relief says. A new IPC* report published today shows record levels of hunger and imminent mass starvation in the next 3 months.

More than 25 million people – over half the country’s population – are now facing severe hunger and food shortages.  

Witnessing Severe Hunger on the Ground

Islamic Relief staff in Darfur, where the charity supports nutrition centres, are already seeing children wasting away from severe malnutrition. A crisis spurned by more than a year of conflict, forcing farmers from their land, destroying markets and obstructing humanitarian aid. In recent weeks, heavy fighting and siege in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, has pushed the region even closer to famine.  

Elsadig Elnour, Islamic Relief Country Director in Sudan, says: “Aid agencies have been warning for months that Sudan faces imminent famine, but it feels like nobody is listening.

Huge loss of life can still be prevented if the international community takes notice and acts to support a ceasefire and get more aid to starving families. But the longer the world waits, the closer we get to the point of no return where the impacts of hunger will become irreversible for millions of people. Young children pay the price of malnutrition for the rest of their lives, as it severely impedes their physical and mental development.

In some parts of Darfur, Islamic Relief teams are now using camels to carry nutrition supplies to health and nutrition centres. Trucks risk being attacked and looted.   

The Worst Levels of Food Insecurity Ever Recorded in Sudan’s History

The new IPC report finds Sudan facing its worst levels of food insecurity ever recorded. The IPC’s 5-phase scale shows around 25 million people, over half the country’s population, face ‘crisis’ (phase 3) or ‘emergency’ (phase 4) levels of hunger. Furthermore, 755,000 people face ‘catastrophic’ levels of starvation (phase 5).  

Communities in Sudan faces looming famine as severe hunger rises due to the ongoing conflict

The risk of famine is most imminent in Darfur. However, 14 areas across the country are at extreme risk – especially Khartoum, Kordofan, Al Jazirah and Blue Nile.

Elsadig Elnour continues: Many of these worst affected areas are traditionally breadbasket regions that produce a lot of food. But over a year of war has severely limited food production and forced millions of people to flee their land and homes.

Many farmers tell us it’s too dangerous for them to plant or harvest due to the presence of armed groups, while traders and food trucks get looted and obstructed on the roads, and aid convoys are obstructed and denied permits.

At least 8 million more people have fallen into hunger over the past 6 months. Worse still, the number of people at Phase 5 – the most extreme – has surged from zero to 755,000 in just a few months.

Sudan has become the world’s internal displacement crisis. More than 10 million people – almost a quarter of the population – are now uprooted from their homes. Many are now entirely dependent on humanitarian aid or the kindness of local communities.  

A Call to Action

Islamic Relief calls on the international community to step up diplomatic efforts to get parties to the conflict to agree. To adhere to a ceasefire. To urgently increase funding for the humanitarian response. Halfway through the year, the UN-led 2024 humanitarian response plan for Sudan has received just 17% of the funding it needs.      

The organisation is also calling for parties to the conflict to recommit to peace negotiations. To ensure the protection of civilians and end the frequent impediments and obstruction of humanitarian aid.  

Islamic Relief has worked in Sudan for 40 years, since 1984. In response to the current crisis, the organisation has provided aid to more than 830,000 people. This includes food, nutrition, livelihood support, cash, water, sanitation, and healthcare.

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